the sports section

Manny Ramirez, All-Star?

If Manny Ramirez were voted into the All-Star Game, would that compound the stain Ramirez left with his 50-game suspension under Major League Baseball’s anti-drug policy, or it would be the ultimate fan rebuke of the media’s hypocritical obsession with performance-enhancing drugs?

The balloting for the July 14 All-Star Game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis came out this week, and look out, folks: Manny Ramirez is in fourth place in National League outfield voting, only 30,000 votes behind Carlos Beltran. This despite Ramirez’s suspension, which ends a week and a half before the big game, on July 3, the day after voting for the All-Stars ends.

Predictably, media folks are up in arms, but Dodgers owner Frank McCourt says he’d welcome Manny playing, and fans, on the whole, seem to agree. There’s plenty of time for Manny to catch up to that third spot.

There’s even a movement afoot to vote Manny in — via the Vote for Manny website and petition — as a statement of protest. There are few things left that allow fans to have a subversive — and helpful — voice in their sports, and this might be one of them. Even if it’s unlikely Manny would actually play … after all, he has a tendency to skip the All-Star game even when he isn’t sitting out a third of the season with a suspension.

In case you were wondering: Alex Rodriguez is in distant third place in the American League third-baseman voting, behind Texas’s Michael Young and far behind Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria. More people have voted for Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, Cardinals center-fielder Rick Ankiel, and Yankees second-baseman Robinson Cano than have voted for A-Rod. Don’t expect a petition for him anytime soon.

Manny Ramirez, All-Star?